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Strikes

by on August 29, 2013

This story was written for Trifecta’s weekly prompt, which was to use the third definition of the word “turkey”: “three successive strikes in bowling”. An interesting prompt, needless to say. I decided to try out a character I plan on using in my NaNoWriMo novel this year. I’d appreciate any criticisms or suggestions you might have as to his development. As a Douglas Adams character once said, he’s just this guy, you know? 

Christmas Eve. Most people would’ve been home with their families. Jason was at a bowling alley.

He had, of course, brought his own bowling shoes. The Centipede Incident of ’79 had taught him that. He selected the a ball from the return machine, hefted it cautiously, and then sent it spinning smoothly down the lane. Strike. Naturally.

“Nice roll,” a woman said from behind him. Jason glanced at her; she was standing by the jukebox. She hadn’t selected a track yet, though she had one highlighted on the screen.

“Thanks,” he replied. “You a Katy Perry fan?”

“Used to be. Not so much now. I prefer Adele.”

Jason recognized the code phrase, even with the improv. He hated when contacts did improv. Couldn’t they just stick to procedure?

He sent a second bowling ball down the lane. Strike, again. Time for the next code sequence. “The tractor is red.”

She blinked. “What?”

Crap, he thought. “My apologies. I thought you were someone else.”

“Huh,” she said. “Who were you looking for, Old McDonald?” She smiled as she said it, and Jason wondered if his evening might not be completely shot.  The machine returned his ball for a third time. He retrieved it, and smiled back at her.

“Something like that. Name’s Waterfalls. Jason Waterfalls.”

Her smile changed subtly, and Jason’s inner alarms went ringing. “I thought you might be.”

“You know, I just remembered I have to buy a present for my niece,” he said, edging towards the door.

“Oh, don’t go, Jason Waterfalls. Really, don’t. Pity about your niece. Looks like someone else will have to play Santa for her.”

Her hand started to move from her coat pocket. Jason didn’t have his gun on him. Turned out bowling balls were just as serviceable, if clunky. She crashed headlong into the rack of bowling shoes. “Strike three,” Jason said. “Sounds like a turkey to me.”

“Ow…” she whimpered, either from the pain or the horrible line. Jason decided not to ask.

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15 Comments
  1. Ooo, intriguing little spy story here. I loved the opening, and the last paragraph cracked me up. I don’t have much in the way of criticism; if anything, the end felt a little rushed. The transition between “I thought you might be” and “You know…” was a little abrupt for me. But then, that likely has a lot to do with the word limit!

  2. I probably could have segued easier there, I admit. But yeah, the word limit is the sticking point. Especially when one has been a NaNoWriMo participant where the objective is to get as many words as you can, not as few. 🙂

  3. I liked this one a lot, Michael. It’s got a quiet little sexiness about it. I love the codes, too. Very intriguing. I’d love to see it expanded. Good luck with NaNo!

    • Well, happily I do plan on expanding it, in November at least. And then I’ll have to edit it back down again…:D

  4. I really did like this. Nice engaging read.

  5. Draug419 permalink

    Ooo I like Jason. Calm under fire and resourceful to boot. I hope you do more with him.

  6. I liked the exchange in the beginning, and the Old McDonald comment 🙂

  7. Hahaha
    Some of your lines are so perfect: The Centipede Incident of ’79 had taught him that.
    So, yeah. Go, go.

    • I may have been influenced there by Calvin and Hobbes and the famous but never shown Noodle Incident.

  8. Bahaha, last line was laugh out loud funny. Hmm…The Pratfall of Waterfalls, new serial?

  9. Maybe after the Third Little Pig arc is over…:)

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